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System Administrator Vs. C++/java Programmer, Career

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by danOne, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. danOne

    danOne Bit Poster

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    Hello,

    Iv'e been browsing through job site (monster.com) today and I relized something. When I enter either CCIE or MCSE or System Admin etc. into the search in my area (New York) and put the minimum salary at 100k, there are about 10-15 listings. Some jobs topping at around 125k.

    When I enter C++ or Java, also in my area and put the salary cap at minimum of 100k I see 172 postings. Some jobs topping at 200k-250k.

    So, I'm currently done with A+ and almost done with Network+ and really think I should make a decision, whether to go mainly the programming route or the system admin route. I like both, pretty equally so thats not the matter.

    This basically means to me that, if I was the GREATEST system administrator with CCIE and MCSE and experience etc, the MOST I would be able to make is 100k. While if I learned programming and was the GREATEST programmer in C++ and Java it would easily top 100k. Also programming seems to have a easier direction. What I mean is if you do sys admin you can do either Cisco, microsoft, unix, possiblities seem endless. But with programming, it seems pretty straight forward.

    I understand that experience is needed for all these jobs so if I do system admin for lets say 5+ years, it'd be a huge salary change and it'd be pretty tough to change routes to programming then.

    Also to put into factor is that in 5 years, there might be robot that can do programming, or lets say outsourcing... So its really a tough choice, and I want to figure out which direction I want to go. And would like some suggestions, thank you.

    Sorry I made this post so long :rolleyes:
     
  2. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    The only good advice I can give you along these lines is to think long and hard before you make a career decision based only on money. Figure out which of the two fields you like the best and go for it. I've read posts from quite a few guys who, when they actually got that first programming job, hated it. The money wasn't enough to keep them there.
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  3. danOne

    danOne Bit Poster

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    Well, right now I don't have a job doing either, but I seem to like both. And I did not get into IT for the money if thats a discussion anyone is going to bring up, I like IT and computers, and want a job doing something related to it.

    I like both, thats why I made a post, to see some more suggestions on this.

    Thanks.
     
  4. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    You have the right attitude about that.

    Anyway like ffreeloader said "you have to decide which field you like best", or what field do you see yourself doing for years. When I first started out I thought that programming/software engineering was the field for me, after 5 years of studying it, I found out that I disliked it, and realised that system admin/engineering/support was what I really enjoyed. I know people that have made the switch from programming to support and vice-versa, this is truly a personal thing that only you can make. Unfortunately to make the most informed decision (in my opinion) you have to get experience/get a feel for both fields (if you're unsure).

    And that is easier said than done, as to get the better picture you have to work from the bottom up. As a beginning programmer you'd be sitting at a desk writing code, most likely it won't be for a while until you start to do the more interesting things like system analyst & design, but that takes time. Same thing in the support side, as a beginner you'd just be fixing desktop PC's/answering telephones, it won't be until later you'd get to play with networks, servers, AD (if you're in a MS enviornment), etc.

    I know this isn't much of an answer, but it really does matter what you're best suited at.

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  5. danOne

    danOne Bit Poster

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    I guess I'll be studying both, but a have a little more focus on networking until I get a job at either and see how I like it..

    I had the impression that all a programmer does is sit and write code, what is this system & design you were saying? Are you talking about writing code for devices like mp3 players or something else?

    The reason I think I'm going to lean on the network side because it seems to be more then sitting in front of your monitor writing code, but I'm not sure what you mean by analyst and design.
     
  6. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    What exactly 'programming' involves depends on your actual job, and how your employer views it.

    In some companies they go the traditional route, an analyst creates the overall form of the app to be produced, and breaks it down into modules. Programmers, who at this level are sometimes called 'code-monkeys' knock out the code for those modules.

    Or you could be virtualy on your own, and have to design the whole thing as well as produce the code.

    And don't forget - the design *must* be done first to some extent, otherwise the app source becomes a mess and is impossible to maintain.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  7. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Dan,

    Can't really add anything other than A+, N+ are good foundations... good luck :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  8. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    That's one way to look at it, but it's not quite that straight-forward though. System Analysis & Design (depending on what software engineering model you use) is the foundation/or the activity done before the code writing begins.

    No, Think of it like building a house, you don't just get a bricklayer to build the house, you'd get an architect who will found out who wants the house, what the house is going to be used for, what the house will look like, etc.

    As a programmer, you will not just be given an application to write. Someone would/will have spent time with the customer finding out what the customer really needs (not nessasarly wants - as this can be 2 different things), what the customer expects the application to do, etc.

    Same thing with the support side, to go in blind and just set up a network without knowing want the client wants to do with it is bad practice. What if someone came into your company installed a 10mb network with 1 fileserver, just because he was told to install a network. But what you really needed was a ultra fast 1gb network to support media streaming and video conferencing?

    Thats what I mean by Systems Analysis & Design, whether it is on the Software engineering side or the IT Support side. Hope that's made it a little bit clearer.

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  9. danOne

    danOne Bit Poster

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    Yeah it did, thanks , I'm taking my network+ this week :)

    I think I'll be leaning towards the network side of things for now, seems more interesting, but I don't have much experience with either, so I might be wrong. But it's my choice, heh.

    What do you guys assume will happen with these two careers down the road, lets say 5-10 years from now? I know it's a fast moving industry, just wondering.

    Thanks.
     
  10. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    My view is that it will much like it is now - only more complicated.

    I don't see anything completely revolutionary changing things in the next year or so, and it takes ages sometimes for the industry to react.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  11. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    I can't say how long it will be, but I eventually can see a time where the Internet controls almost everything. There will be no need for local servers on site, everything will be simply connected to the Internet with servers all housed in huge data centres. The skills that will be needed on a local level will be that of desktop support and Infrastructure, i.e. Switching and routing for a speedy connection to the net. No need for server skills.

    Thats just my thoughts, and thats coming from an admin background not a developer one.

    8)
     
  12. danOne

    danOne Bit Poster

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    I'll be going the sys admin route, see how it goes :)

    Thanks.
     

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